I recently posted the following on my Facebook page:
“Tact and politeness should not be misconstrued as compromise.
The two are not necessarily one and the same.”
Whether we’re talking about this within the context of an informal (or formal) debate, a corporate negotiation or a simple transaction between a buyer and a seller, the principle holds true.
I make this point, not because I don’t believe in compromise, which is often vital in the day-to-day getting along and working with others, but because of a certain prevalence becoming more and more common every day:
It’s that either/or thinking that, if you agree, you behave in a manner which is kind and nice but if you are philosophically or in other ways opposed, you must be nasty, interrupting and downright insulting to the other person.
Very few debates, disagreements or negotiations are settled in this way, though they are often prolonged. Very few minds (and their corresponding beliefs) are changed as a result of one being put-down, yelled at or otherwise insulted. Though, through this methodology, one’s opinions are often solidified and perhaps caused to be immutable.
Being polite; being gracious; being kind and tactful does not mean you agree with that person; nor does it signify you will cave in. While it’s fine to negotiate on “things” it is not okay to cave on our principles and beliefs (unless or until we are shown ours are incorrect or that at least the possibly occurs that they may be).
I loved the following two comments regarding the quote that leads this article:
MaryKay Morgan wrote:“One never has to let go of graciousness and good manners even in “tough” negotiations.”
How true: In fact, I’ve always found that the more you maintain them the more successful you are likely to be in accomplishing your goal. The reason is that – when you maintain your sense of tact and kindness, the other person will be less inclined to maintain their defensive shield. They’ll feel good about you, and begin to like and – yes – possibly trust you. At that point, change can occur.
John Geraghty responded: “Not only do we not have to let go of graciousness and good manners in ‘tough negotiations,’ it seems as soon as we do, the negotiation devolves into an ego match. Far better to stay connected with a generous and empathic listening, which almost always inspires reciprocity and open dialogue in the long run.
I think that MaryKay and John should have written this post. Great comments!
So, stay true to your principles, but don’t lose your class. 🙂
How are you doing in this regard? Are you able to maintain your focus on the issues without losing your head and making it personal? Have you seen some good examples or…dare I say, some not so good ones? Please let us know.